What can I learn from potty training my twins?!
“Where does pee and poo go?” seems to be the most repeated question in our house right now! For the last few weeks I’ve been resigned to knowing that at some point in the day I will wear one or both of these. If you have little kids to potty train and the thought grosses you out – you better get over it! Believe me, the reality is that you will be sprayed, splattered, or sat on by a dirty bum frequently during this exciting time of leaving the diapers behind.
Luckily it’s now warm here and some of our ‘accidents’ have happened outside. I’m not 100% sure how our neighbours have felt about our almost naked boys running around in the backyard! I’ve discovered that putting underwear on almost certainly means less chance of making it to the potty. I’m still working on how to transition to wearing clothes. Hopefully that will be done before winter! Although underwear is a problem, they insist on wearing their shoes. Hats and sunscreen are mostly optional according to them!
Rewarding them with stars or prizes when they have at least got most of the pee in the potty is a little tricky with two. Zak would pee every few minutes it seemed, while Izzy could hold it for longer. One morning they suddenly became more independent and most of the time they were using the potty or makeshift urinal Daddy made out of a big plastic bottle, and delivering their pee and poo to the toilet all by themselves! The problem was that then I had to guess (or wipe bottoms!) to find out who needed a sticker or prize.
Just when I was getting excited that they had got it and things were looking up they decided that it actually was more fun peeing on the floor or Mummy’s feet, than the potty. Zak even thought that getting up on a chair to pee on the table was funny! It seems we have returned to start again in this game!
A few times I’ve heard the thrilling word ‘yuck’ announced by one or both of them and know I will find a ‘present’ waiting for me somewhere, usually in front of where they are standing. If I’m not quick to get there they will start playing in it or poking it! For some reason they haven’t figured out the connection between the word yucky and it’s not nice to touch.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes in this process and I know my frustration and not so great attitude at times hasn’t helped. Yet I have to believe that at some point I will actually be able to look back, maybe even laugh, at this time. Thankfully I have been able to see the humour during this phase too. Like the evening Izzy started waddling towards me with his legs wide apart because there was poo in his underwear. It looked so funny I had to turn my back to him so he couldn’t see me laughing. Even my husband was struggling to contain his laughter!
Along with the humour has come some life lessons. When I stop to think about what I can learn from this whole growing up experience it’s pretty amazing! This is a messy business but we have to go through it or they will never learn the skill of going to the toilet themselves. Sometimes in life you go through messy times – broken relationships, problems at work, financial issues etc – you know how it is stuff happens, but in the end those same messes often teach you things and can even be blessings in disguise.
Sometimes I’ve even been the one that created the mess. Yet somehow it seems I haven’t worked out that I need to stop ‘playing’ in the mess before I can get cleaned up.
My frustration over accidents hasn’t helped me or the boys. In fact getting upset with Izzy just made things worse! When I changed my approach to praising the successes and not fussing over the accidents things improved. It is a good reminder that building others up is uplifting for everyone and is really the only thing that works to improve things. Not only do I need to remember that when relating to others but also for myself. I don’t know about you but I can be my worst critic! You will never change anything if you keep beating yourself up.
I also need to keep remembering that potty training is only a short time in the scheme of things. God willing there will be many years to enjoy the results of their successful training. If I can remember that when it comes to any challenges I have, then hopefully I can resist the temptation to feel sorry for myself and find something useful that I can learn from it instead!
I know at the end of all this my house will need a good and thorough cleaning! It’s a bit like our lives really. When we are stuck in the muck it’s not a great feeling! Yet, when I watch the boys waving goodbye pee or poo as they flush it down the toilet I can remind myself that this too will pass, the house will be ‘sterilized’ and our ‘muck’ will be washed away. I’m so grateful that God has promised “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18 There is nothing like fresh white snow to make everything look clean!
So, have I won the battle with potty training? Not yet, but one of these days it will happen!